Ah, the smell of leather! The boys of summer! The thrill of a well-placed slider! Yes, it’s baseball season again, and what better way to preview this year’s Major League Baseball slate than by tying each team’s prospects to songs from the great Long Island metal band Blue Öyster Cult? Not only has BÖC been around forever, and not only do they have the greatest song titles in history, it’s pretty clear that they have been previewing this baseball season in mystical and occult ways for decades.
TEAM: Baltimore Orioles
SONG: “Buck’s Boogie”
PREVIEW: They’ll be bad this year, but manager Buck Showalter loves to piss better teams off by knocking them out of the playoffs. (Red Sox.) Similarly, this instrumental by Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser pissed a lot of people off because it showed BÖC could be interested in fun.
CONNECTION: On Your Feet or on Your Knees, the live album where this first appeared, was the group’s highest-charting album at No. 22. No Orioles fan has to even think twice about what the number 22 means to him or her. (Hint: great pitcher, even better underwear pitchman.)
TEAM: Boston Red Sox
SONG: “Dominance and Submission”
PREVIEW: Well, karma is an absolute bitch, innit? A few years after everything finally broke the Yawkey Way, last year saw one of the hugest collapses in history. Was it payback for Fever Pitch and the talk about how the 2011 Sox might be the greatest team of all time? Nope, just a cycle of submission to balance out the team’s (recent) dominance.
CONNECTION: The break on this song uses the tri-tone also known as the devil’s interval, shoring up BÖC’s manager’s wish for them to be the “American Sabbath.” (Insert Salem Witch Trials reference here.)
TEAM: Chicago White Sox
SONG: “What Is Quicksand?”
PREVIEW: Should be a renaissance on the South Side, right? Everyone bitched about Ozzie, so he’s gone. Buehrle too expensive, Quentin not good enough, they’re gone. Dunn and Rios and Peavy couldn’t be worse, so they’re gonna bounce back, right? Right? What are all those Sox caps doing floating on that oatmeal-like patch of ground OH NOOOOOOO
CONNECTION: This Tokyo-themed ripper reminded us that the Sox have signed Kosuke Fukudome, lately every Cubs fan’s whipping boy, to sometimes patrol US Cellular Field.
TEAM: Cleveland Indians
SONG: “Then Came the Last Days of May”
PREVIEW: Last year, the Indians were killing it for the first couple of months of the season. Remember? Then, of course, came the last days of May, and things didn’t go so well. This year, with a ton of youngsters and some canny additions, at least one pundit says they’ll win the division.
CONNECTION: There’s no way to go into it now, but the “Imaginos” saga that pre-dates the band is all about Native American Indians and their connections to aliens and time travel and stuff.
TEAM: Detroit Tigers
PREVIEW: You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Detroit, a team that was already pretty freakin’ loaded with talent like Verlander and Cabrera, lost a big cog in Victor Martinez—so they spend $214 million to get super-sized free agent Prince Fielder for nine years. Cue the “Godzilla” riff, and look out below!
CONNECTION: If this doesn’t go right, go to Tigers games and chant “History shows us again and again/ How nature points out the folly of men!”
TEAM: Kansas City Royals
SONG: “Hungry Boys”
PREVIEW: There might not be a better team to root for this year than the Kansas City Royals. They’re young and hungry at virtually every field position, and a lot of them are stars in the making with cool names like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain. Pitching is… um… well, it’s not good, and their manager is Ned Yost. Oh, well.
CONNECTION: The last time the Royals won the World Series was 1985—the same year BÖC looked to be coming back, with Club Ninja coming out and Albert rejoining the band. Since then, not so much.
TEAM: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
SONG: “Fallen Angel”
PREVIEW: Whoa, two consecutive songs from Cultösaurus Erectus. Actually, this isn’t such a great choice other than the “Angel” part, as most people think the addition of Albert Pujols will cause the team to rise rather than fall. But we needed a good Helen Wheels-written BÖC song, and tunes like “Celestial the Queen” and “Tattoo Vampire” didn’t work.
CONNECTION: “When the brink of ruin lies/ Upon the world, a judge shall rise”—could this be the same judge who presided here?
TEAM: Minnesota Twins
SONG: “The Revenge of Vera Gemini”
PREVIEW: Yeah, yeah, Twins, Gemini, we get it. But think about the Patti Smith-intoned intro, and then think about any other pair of superstars who have been more “boned like a saint” than Morneau and Mauer; who shoulda been contenders, but might never great again.
CONNECTION: This song mentions the 24th of May—drummer Albert Bouchard’s birthday… and also the birthday of Minnesota’s own Robert Zimmerman.
TEAM: New York Yankees
SONG: “7 Screaming Diz-Busters”
PREVIEW: Darn right we saved this—one of the baddest-assed songs ever to warm the darkness—for the Bombers del Bronx. The team will be pretty bad-assed itself this year, scoring scary amounts of runs, and sporting seven different potential starting pitchers (well, six with Michael Pineda’s injury, but they’ll get back to seven later).
CONNECTION: One of those diz-busters is super-Christian Andy Pettitte, who has un-retired and is throwing well. He’d be pretty unhappy with all the singing about Lucifer here… and even more upset if he ever Googled the meaning of the term “diz-buster.”
TEAM: Oakland Athletics
SONG: “Joan Crawford”
PREVIEW: This song posits the return of the eponymous actress from a-moulderin’ in the grave. The A’s have so many potential candidates to hook up to this song: Can Billy Beane, fresh from being lionized in Moneyball, return to relevance? Can Manny Ramirez rise from his ban-induced tomb and savant the ball all over the park like he used to?
CONNECTION: Joan Crawford was played by Faye Dunaway, who won an Oscar working with Robert Duvall, who played Jesse James on film in 1972… the same role played in 2007 by Brad Pitt, who starred in Moneyball.
TEAM: Seattle Mariners
SONG: “Workshop of the Telescopes”
PREVIEW: A song that doesn’t make a lot of sense (“By Silverfish Imperatrix, whose incorrupted eye/ Sees through the charms of doctors and their wives”) but seems to be about sailors would seem to be perfect for the Mariners because A) check the team logo, and B) check out the roster makeup, which makes no sense outside of the team’s tentpoles.
CONNECTION: If anyone in Major League Baseball can be considered a Silverfish Imperatrix, wouldn’t it be Ichiro Suzuki? He’s going to hit 20 home runs this year.
TEAM: Tampa Bay Rays
SONG: “Madness to the Method”
PREVIEW: No remaining skipper can even try to pinch any of Joe Maddon’s managerial swag. Year after year, he does his own sabermetrics and keeps this team in contention. This year the Rays’ hitting still looks bad on paper, but the pitching and defense are great as usual, so they’ll cause some drama with that extra Wild Card spot.
CONNECTION: In December, pitcher David Price did not punch a guy. This flagrant violation of lyrics like “It’s a hormone war zone/ boys are out for a fight/ Wenches in the trenches on a Saturday night” will be dealt with later. (WENCHES IN THE TRENCHES!!!)
TEAM: Texas Rangers
SONG: “The Siege and Investiture of Baron von Frankenstein’s Castle at Weisseria”
PREVIEW: Oh, come on, HAD to use this title somewhere, even if it’s a stretch. Won’t be a stretch for Texas to be good this year, as they’ve gone to two straight World Series. Despite this, and the arrival of Yu Darvish, few are picking them all the way this year.
CONNECTION: Actor Glenn Strange—a name that sounds like a character in a BÖC song—portrayed both Frankenstein’s monster and the guy who killed all the other Texas Rangers in The Lone Ranger.
TEAM: Toronto Blue Jays
SONG: “Flaming Telepaths”
PREVIEW: Here’s your true hipster pick in the American League, and why not? Lots to like here, from Jose Batista to flamethrower Henderson Alvarez. Biggest question here: are the Jays stealing signs, courtesy of the mysterious man in white? Or are Joey Bats and the guys just somehow… telepathic?
CONNECTION: Wikipedia says “In old African-American folklore of the southern United States the Blue Jay was held to be a servant of the Devil,” and it’s late so I’m going with it. PLAY BALL!